As we opt to pause our annual summer camps this year, Chatteris’ own Ashley Measures takes us on a trip down memory lane…
As an education NGO in Hong Kong, every summer, we take English learning outside the classroom through our Summer Camps. These camps offer students from less privileged backgrounds the opportunity for cultural exchange experiences, try new activities, and increase their confidence in English.
As everything remains paused this year, I’ve decided to reflect on last year’s camp. The theme? Environment, climate change, and sustainable living.
This post follows one week of camp, where students from four schools embarked on a range of activities, with each day presenting new insights for students, schools, and us English tutors.
The day began with a later start but this additional time allowed the perfect opportunity to get to know the students and their interests (often napping and Netflix).
When the day finally started, we were taken to the Hong Kong Country Club where students were introduced to the schedule and activities of the week. A banquet of mini pizzas, fried rice, and ice cream was consumed by the ravenous students before we were whisked off to the afternoon activity.
In Mong Kok, students were introduced to nutrition and sustainable food through a vegan cooking class. It was hard to tell if the students enjoyed cooking or consuming the eggplant, tofu, and pumpkin more – imagine a flock of seagulls when you drop your chips!
Bright and early, the students were taken to the Hong Kong Island neighbourhood of Sai Ying Pun, known for its bustling eateries and indie coffee shops, the latter of which the students visited.
As we all may know, it can be a challenge to wake up in the morning so whoever thought of a coffee workshop first thing is a genius! Students learned about sustainable coffee growth and fair trade, including new vocabulary to explain different flavours of coffee, before sampling different types.
After calming an over excited student who sampled his first ever espresso, we enjoyed some lunch, before heading to the zero waste green store, Live Zero, for the Sustainable Scavenger Hunt. This hunt saw students explore different stores around the neighbourhood to find out about the effects of consumer habits on the environment.
After an hour in the Hong Kong sun, the students were suitably decaffeinated and engaged in a discussion on how they could change their own behaviours to support the environment and climate change.
Wednesday saw Chatteris collaborate with LumiVoce to explore how music and storytelling can be used to raise awareness of wildlife. LumiVoce was founded by Dr. Ying Ying Liu, an accomplished classical singer, who uses her experience of music to inspire others to become wildlife protectors and tell the stories of the animals in their own unique way.
The day was split into two sessions; in the morning, students were working in groups to research a specific animal, including their habitat, feeding habits, and why they are endangered. After, they were given a box of assorted materials to dress and perform like their assigned animals to LumiVoce’s debut track “All Living Things”.
In the afternoon, students delved into another medium of storytelling: art. Using comic strips, each student embraced their creative side to create their own story about orangutans, with student performances ranging from Planet of the Apes to circus acts.
Thursday morning’s plan unfortunately fell victim to Hong Kong’s typhoon season meaning the beach clean up with Plastic Free Seas, a non-profit organisation, was not possible. Instead, Plastic Free Seas arrived at school to teach students about the issues our sea-life face due to the increase of single use plastics.
In the afternoon, students were whisked to Tuen Mun and attended the HIV and Blind Experience at Crossroads, a charity that delivers resources internationally to those in need. The Blind Experience explores the world of a blind person with a guided tour across a totally dark jungle-themed room whilst the HIV experience tells the stories of four characters who have obtained the disease and how their lives have been affected. Both experiences allowed for students to reflect and consider the power of their senses in their everyday life.
Friday was the day of reflection as the students were able to showcase what they had learned.
The morning session was led by Ecoed, an interactive video game initiative, who kindly gave the students free reign on their quiz app. Students competed for prizes through quizzes that focused on the activities of the week.
The last lunch of the week was Dim Sum, providing a final opportunity to share jokes and selfies with the students, with the photos being evidence of the amazing bonds that had developed between us.
Overall the camp was a roaring success where students explored new topics, new perspectives, practised their English, and made some life-long connections. The tutors also definitely learnt a thing or two too!
Like Ashley, are you interested in supporting young people in their English language learning? Click here to find out more.